What the superhero movie can do

Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984”.

Warner Bros.

Can a nostalgic superhero movie convince people to leave their couches and go to the theaters? “Wonder Woman 1984” tries to answer this question.

Cinema owners are confident that the sequel to Wonder Woman, due out on Christmas Day, will attract a major demographic back to theaters despite the continued surge in coronavirus cases.

The ongoing pandemic isn’t their only concern, however. The same day that “Wonder Woman 1984” debuted on the big screen, it can also be streamed on HBO Max.

“Wonder Woman 1984 is the first test of a title of this size being released on both large and small screen at the same time,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore senior media analyst.

Box office analysts have mixed opinions about how well the film will perform at the home box office. “Wonder Woman 1984” fell short of expectations on its international debut last weekend, grossing around $ 38.5 million. That was well below the industry’s predicted $ 60 million.

The movie could have even more trouble in the US and Canada considering that only around 34% of the theaters are open. That’s about 2,000 theaters, reports Comscore.

“It is difficult to place a number on its possible opening weekend as there really is no directly comparable release scenario,” said Dergarabedian. “And the biggest opening weekend for cinemas since the pandemic began in mid-March has not even passed the $ 10 million mark.”

It is related to “The Croods: A New Age,” an animated film by Dreamworks that debuted over Thanksgiving. It had the highest opening of any movie released during the pandemic, at just $ 9.7 million. The estimated $ 14.2 million for the entire five-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Still there is a pent-up demand for “Wonder Woman 1984”. This could convince moviegoers to go to the big screen instead of watching the movie at home.

“We’re seeing ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ getting the highest advance ticket sales of any movie in the pandemic era, but I’m cautiously leaning over $ 10 million for that, given the number of theater closings, audiences’ caution and caution A simultaneous streaming release weekend, “said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com. “A number closer to $ 15 million could be achievable, but there is a lot of unpredictability that needs to be considered right now.”

Robbins said premium screens like IMAX and Dolby Cinema are likely to be among the top performing venues for the sequel as they offer higher quality sound and picture. Private party rentals, where moviegoers rent a theater to a group of up to 20 friends and family members, are also likely to generate a healthy share of the box office.

For the past five years, the box office has generated at least $ 80 million for a single day on Christmas Day. Analysts agree that that number won’t be seen this year.

In times without a pandemic, “Wonder Woman 1984” could have opened between $ 100 million and $ 150 million, said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. With so many movie theaters closed, the coronavirus threat looming, and the film available on HBO Max, Pachter forecast an opening of between $ 15 million and $ 25 million.

“While many choose to stay home and watch the movie this vacation, fans and families might find themselves in relatively fair numbers in markets where it is safe and possible, although far from what they are Usually for a blockbuster superhero, sequels are opening at Christmas, “said Robbins.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Dreamworks Animation.

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